Friday, September 4, 2009

Some Links and a Song for Labor Day

As a librarian who is both a Catholic and a union activist, I am often asked about resources on our Church's teachings on labor. Fortunately, there is one place you can go to for everything you ever wanted to know about the Catholic Church and labor issues. The Catholic-Labor Network has been on the world wide web for more than seven years, and consists of hundreds of pages of information regarding our Catholic social gospel related to work and worker associations, and related articles and commentaries.

The Catholic-Labor Network "hopes to be a place for those Catholics, lay, religious and clergy, who are active in their churches and in unions to learn about their Church's teachings as regards to labor issues, pray for those who are working for economic justice and share information about events and struggles that may be taking place in their area."

From Pope Leo XIII's radical (for 1891) encyclical Rerum Novarum to Pope Benedict XVI's Caritas in Veritate, the Catholic Church has been a voice of support for workers, and a conscience to the body politic when it pondered issues dealing with the distribution of wealth and the condition of workers.

And if you are not Catholic, some good interfaith Labor Day resources are the AFL-CIO's Labor in the Pulpits page, their Faith and Worker Justice page, and Interfaith Worker Justice.

Finally, a song:



The Ballad Of The Carpenter
By Ewan MacColl/Phil Ochs

Jesus was a working man
And a hero you will hear
Born in the town of Bethlehem
At the turning of the year
At the turning of the year

When Jesus was a little lad
Streets rang with his name
For he argued with the older men
And put them all to shame
He put them all to shame

He became a wandering journeyman
And he traveled far and wide
And he noticed how wealth and poverty
Live always side by side
Live always side by side

So he said "Come you working men
Farmers and weavers too
If you would only stand as one
This world belongs to you
This world belongs to you"

When the rich men heard what the carpenter had done
To the Roman troops they ran
Saying put this rebel Jesus down
He's a menace to God and man
He's a menace to God and man

The commander of the occupying troops
Just laughed and then he said
"There's a cross to spare on Calvary's hill
By the weekend he'll be dead
By the weekend he'll be dead"

Now Jesus walked among the poor
For the poor were his own kind
And they'd never let them get near enough
To take him from behind
To take him from behind

So they hired one of the traitors' trade
And an informer was he
And he sold his brother to the butchers' men
For a fistful of silver money
For a fistful of silver money

And Jesus sat in the prison cell
And they beat him and offered him bribes
To desert the cause of his fellow man
And work for the rich men's tribe,
To work for the rich men's tribe

And the sweat stood out on Jesus' brow
And the blood was in his eye
When they nailed his body to the Roman cross
And they laughed as they watched him die
They laughed as they watched him die

Two thousand years have passed and gone
Many a hero too
But the dream of this poor carpenter
Remains in the hands of you
Remains in the hands of you

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